Team Trophy Central has some exciting news: we started a scholarship program to help deserving high school seniors pay for college! Students showing extreme sportsmanship, compassion or kindness have the opportunity to be awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Trophy Central toward their first year’s tuition and (drum roll, please!) we have chosen our first winner.
Meet Devon Willis, a Texas student who launched a YouTube video campaign that raised over $80,000 to help her best friend’s brother afford a heart transplant. Besides being the first winner of Trophy Central’s Compassion Scholarship, Devon is also the latest winner of our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward everyday heroes who inspire.
We engraved Devon’s custom trophy with these words: The Compassionate Heart Award.
It was Devon’s compassionate heart that propelled her to do everything in her power to help gift Anthony, her best friend’s brother, with a new healthy, compassionate heart of his own.
In Devon’s YouTube video, she told Anthony’s story by holding up words and drawings on multiple sheets of paper, reminiscent of the famous Love Actually scene. Devon explained that Anthony was born with a broken heart and, despite nine surgeries to fix it, his heart was still not mended and needed to be replaced. She then asked everyone to donate $1.40 on February 14th: “While you are thinking about your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, please also think about his sweet heart. His sweet broke heart.” This was six years ago.
Anthony recently celebrated his fifth anniversary of receiving his heart transplant, and this was possible because of Devon’s kindness and her passionate determination to help.
A Heartwarming Friend and Dedicated Advocate
Besides making her YouTube video (which she says “reached all seven continents and eventually the International Space Station”!) Devon also sold raffle tickets outside her local rodeo for a town-wide raffle her mom helped plan to raise money for Anthony’s heart transplant surgery. Devon also spoke passionately about Anthony and her mission to help raise money for his heart transplant on three local news stations, helping to build publicity for her fundraising efforts with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. Devon was interviewed for newspaper articles and became an outspoken advocate for Anthony while at the same time tending to her best friend’s needs: “I did everything I could to bring light to my best friend and pay attention to her as all the attention went to her younger brother. I laughed with her and was there to be a support system as she cried. I made efforts to make her feel loved and remembered, because I could never forget her.”
It takes a lot of heart to help your best friend cope with the fear and sadness of having a brother who needs heart transplant surgery. And even more heart to launch a powerful campaign to help make his surgery possible. Team Trophy Central is honored to recognize Devon’s kindness and ambition to make a difference.
When we started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign four years ago, our goal was to reward the kindness of magnanimous people just like Devon! People with compassionate hearts who make the world a better place by being themselves. We saw an “untapped market” in the land of trophy winners. Sure, people regularly won trophies for excelling in sports and other extracurricular activities, but how many people won trophies for everyday acts of kindness (or, as we call them: everyday acts of trophy-ness!)?
Calling All Sparkly, Quirky, Persistent and Kind Sue Hecks of the World!
Inspired by the Sue Heck character from the sitcom The Middle, we started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward the Sue Hecks of the world: people who may not be athletically or artistically gifted but who make the world a better place simply by being in it. Sue’s optimism is contagious, her persistence and dedication inspiring. The fact of the matter is, Sue (just like the Instagram memes advise) leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes. Sue embraces her quirkiness and never ceases to make bright pink lemonade out of dull bitter lemons. And we want to reward the sparkly, quirky Sues of the world — the people who make us smile and warm our hearts.
People like Devon, whose compassionate spirit helped Anthony get a new heart. Team Trophy Central thanks you, Devon, with all our hearts, for your kindness that inspires us all.
Let’s keep the compassion going! Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign is only as good as the nominations we receive. So please #ShowUsYourSue! Nominate the next winner of our Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign here in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. We will be sending out a shiny trophy next month to the latest winner. Who will it be?!